A Binghamton, N.Y., attorney says he was the patron in a Baltimore hotel bar who inadvertently sparked the fight between New York Yankees Manager Billy Martin and pitcher Ed Whitson.

Albert J. Millus Jr., 29, told the Binghamton Press he was in Baltimore with his wife to see the Yankees play the Orioles Saturday and Sunday.

Millus said he and a friend were sitting at a table near Whitson and several other people. While they figured he was on the team, they did not recognize Whitson. Millus said Whitson, after sitting unobtrusively for an extended period, appeared to become agitated after Dale Berra's wife came to the table and began conversing with him. Suddenly, Millus recalled, the pitcher pointed at Martin and in a raised voice identified him as the man "who's causing my problems."

Whitson then caught Millus' eye and asked what business it was of his. "I told him that if I was making $90,000 a year -- I thought he was a rookie, and I thought $90,000 was the salary minimum -- I wouldn't be acting like a little kid," Millus said.

He said Whitson grabbed him by the throat, where Millus has a small bruise. At that point, he said, Martin rushed to the table to break it up and said, "Eddie, you're drunk; you don't need this."

"Whitson was going crazy by then," Millus said.